Baker Who Refused To Make Cake For Same-Sex Couple Is Now Being Sued By Transgender Lawyer
A Colorado baker once at the centre of a US Supreme Court case for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex couple is now being sued by a transgender lawyer.
In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullin visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to purchase a birthday cake. The store’s owner Jack Phillips refused, citing his Christian beliefs, leading to a lengthy legal battle which culminated in a partial victory for the baker in 2018.
Amid the proceedings of that case, Autumn Scardina attempted to buy a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to mark her gender transition. When he again refused, she filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. On Monday, March 22, Phillips went on trial.
As per The Independent, Scardina said she tried to place the order after finding out the high court had decided to hear Phillips’ appeal. Her lawyer Paula Greisen asked if the call was a ‘setup’ to which she answered: ‘It was more of calling someone’s bluff.’
Following Scardina’s initial complaint, Phillips went on to sue the state of Colorado with the claim he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs. In March 2019, both sides dropped their cases.
A few months later, Scardina returned with her own lawsuit, claiming his bakery had falsely advertised it would ‘be happy to provide a variety of baked goods, including birthday cakes, to all members of the public, including LGBT individuals,’ as per Pink News. The legal team said Phillips ‘attempted to exploit the news coverage by stating they would sell birthday cakes to LGBT customers.’
The suit cited Phillips’ alleged violations of two state laws: the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA); and the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).
Denver district court judge Bruce Jones dismissed the CCPA complaint after Scardina’s legal team ‘failed to establish an actionable unfair or deceptive trade practice… if [they] were engaged in such a stealth advertising campaign, they successfully disguised it within their speech on a matter of public concern.’
Greisen said this showed ‘a very narrow holding on a certain set of facts related to the Colorado Consumer Protection Act that has no bearing on the discrimination claim… it has nothing to do with the merits of whether or not businesses are allowed to refuse service to the LGBTQ+ community.’
The CADA claim wasn’t dismissed, with the court document noting: ‘Plaintiff need not establish that her transgender status was the sole cause of the denial of services. Rather, she need only show that the discriminatory action was based, in whole or in part, on her protected status.’
It adds: ‘Defendants assert they would not have made a blue and pink cake celebrating a gender transition for anyone. Defendants made a near identical argument in Craig, contending that they would not have made a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage for anyone. As did the Court of Appeals in Craig, this court rejects Defendants’ reasoning.’
Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom who’s representing Phillips, said in a statement: ‘Tolerance for different opinions is essential. We look forward to defending Jack – and ultimately prevailing – on the remaining claim.’
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